I had a bit of hard job the other day trying to explain the workings of a solar panel to a colleague, and it got me searching for a suitable analogy. Yes, there is the well-used comparison of water to electrical flow, but that’s a tad drippy and wishy-washy in my view, and I was looking for something more illustrative and fun. So, how about this:
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We hear it all the time – flexible solar panels are not worth buying, they only last a short time, they never give out the watts they say they will, they are not as durable as glass panels, the list goes on and on of the laments by those who bought a solar panel that didn’t live up to its manufacturer’s hype.
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Solar Tariffs - Feel the Pain? When it comes to tariffs, you’ll have to go a long way to find anything to beat the 249% tariff we were recently charged on a couple of small, specialized marine solar panels imported from Solara in Germany. These smaller panels are not as popular here in North America as they are in Europe and around the Med, but we were selling one or two along the way, and needed to replace stock. It transpired that the cells in these panels were manufactured in China by a company that is not on the list of preferred solar manufacturers, and so we got walloped with the huge tariff.
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I think we all get the idea of what a “By-Pass” is, whether it’s a by-pass road to divert traffic around a city, or a heart by-pass operation to channel blood supply around a restricted artery. So what does a By-Pass Diode do in a solar panel? Obviously it must divert something around something, but what, why, and how? Right away, let’s quell the myth that By-Pass Diodes are there primarily to improve performance under shaded conditions.
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We had another highly successful show in Miami this year, with a lot of interest in our solar offerings, but we still find it necessary to spend considerable time with interested parties having to explain the what’s what of solar power for boats. Evidently there is still a lot of misinformation out there on the subject, so this seems like a good time to re-hash one of our most popular blogs from many moons ago. Here follows a list of ten myths and busts in an effort to set the record straight.
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The owners of the Hylas 54, Genevieve, have a clever and beautiful solution for installing solar panels on their yacht that compliments her elegant lines, makes aft boarding via the swim ladder easy, and provides shade for the dingy when stored on the davits. All without adding extra weight on the back end. Below is what they've shared on www.cruisersforum.com: We wanted to add significant solar area but we were not keen on putting panels on deck (shading, slippery), on rail “wings”, or on the canvas bimini top (shading, dynamic substrate, complex wire routing, not useable when boat stripped bare for storage). We wanted a solution that looked in keeping with the existing boat structures and we did not care for sharp-cornered aluminum flat frame panel solution often seen.
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